It must absolutely suck to be Barack Obama – damned if he does; damned if he doesn’t.
Over the last six days, the U.S. President’s been publicly raked over the coals for using Twitter the way most of us do when something comes up that’s important to us. That is, most of us, at one time or another, have sent multiple tweets to our “minions” asking them to donate to a specific cause or sponsor our charity fundraising efforts so that we could achieve a specific goal.
So, why should Barack Obama be subject to a different standard?
In fact, I’m pretty certain during his 2008 election run he routinely tweeted asking people to donate money or attend rallies, etc… Nobody complained then.
Many people have criticized the President for his “weakly thought out” social media campaign and cited the loss of 37,000+ followers in the first 24 hours of the campaign (see July 29 on the graph in this post). His contentious losses amounted to less than one-half of one per cent of his 9.4 million followers. That’s the equivalent of me losing nine followers in 24 hours. I’ve probably done that many times if for no other reason than some of my followers were cleaning up their following lists because of evolving interests.
Not reported nearly as much is the President’s more than made up his “substantial” losses in the last few days (see August 2 on the graph in this post). He’s on target to reach 9.5 million followers in the very near future. I wonder if that will become news?
Anyway… follows and unfollows generally represent nothing more than a click. It’s a weak metric at best. Informed strategists and analysts know it’s not the quantity of relationships that matters. It’s the quality of each relationship. Were these lost followers rich sources of campaign funds? Were they powerful political supporters? No? Meh.
My take is Barack Obama’s real offense is he’s not as engaged online the way he once was and a minority of followers took exception to his opportunistic use of Twitter to poke his head up to get people to do something for him and the country . Many called it spam. It’s not. It’s part of the Twitter experience.